Liveminds Mobile 1440

8 Mobile qual project design tips

Hugh Carling

Hugh Carling


Co-founder of Liveminds. I love to bring like-minded people together. Whether that's growing businesses, running online communities, staging events or captaining my village cricket team, nothing makes me happier than seeing people with a shared passion, coming together and making the most of it.

Mobile qual is at the forefront of many researchers’ minds this year. It’s set to grow by as much as 253% this year, according to the latest GRIT report. The value of being able to get closer to consumers than ever before and capture thoughts and experiences ‘in the moment’ is clear – it’s more real and much more powerful.

Since Liveminds became the first online qual company in Europe to add mobile to its’ platform in February 2012, launching simultaneously on iPhone and Android, we have learnt a lot about how it works in practise too. Almost 60% of our projects now have mobile activities in them as well. We’ve fed all this learning back into evolving the platform to make the joined up online + mobile experience super smooth for participants and researchers.

So now you’ve got the ability to effortlessly combine online + mobile in your research, the key thing is to design your project to get the most out of each channel. So below we’ve shared 8 key lessons we’ve learned over the last 12 months to help you with your next project.

1. When and when not to use mobile

Mobile is exceptional for recording participants’ experiences, thoughts or feelings, as they happen, with text, video or images.
However, remember the small size of a mobile phone does create limitations too. You don’t want participants to be trying to give detailed responses to complex stimulus, by typing their reply on a mobile phone screen.

In Liveminds, researchers have complete control over this – you simply choose which questions you want to be ‘online only’ and which ones ‘+mobile’. You also have complete control over who sees participants’ responses – researchers only, others in their group, or any person from any group. In all formats, when you probe a participant’s response to ask for further details, they will be sent a direct link to reply online. This way, you are always getting the best out of both online + mobile channels.

2. Number of activities

Typically, there are less than 5 live ‘+mobile’ activities at any one time. Giving participants too many topics to be considering each day, as they live their busy lives is counterproductive and engagement will suffer.

3. Timing

As with online research, you need to manage expectations correctly to keep participants fully engaged. If you say 30 minutes a day, then don’t set tasks that will take longer. Test the tasks out yourself in advance, to see how long they will actually take. Uploading videos every day is asking a lot.

4. Type

In longer projects, mix up the activities to keep it interesting for your participants. Ask them to go to different places, experience different things, consider different aspects of the topic. Have them share some of their experiences with others for discussion in the group, aswell as keeping them private. Request that they respond in different ways, sometimes, text, sometimes video, sometimes with images.

5. Video

The ease with which you can get videos from participant’s via their smartphone, is a key advantage of mobile, whether it’s of their environment or talking to camera. Remember that some people will express themselves better with the written word however, and that video is still time consuming to record and upload. So don’t over do it. If there are key things you really want captured in video, you must be be very clear on that in your instructions.

When you do, make sure that you also give strong guidance on the filming. You should include the length of response you want, (we’d recommend 1 minute max), the angle you’d like, getting the lighting right, and so on. Sometimes ask them to plan upfront what they want to say to ensure the result is on topic and has the highest impact.
Recommend that they watch back their video before submitting it, so they can be sure it meets your expectations. Suggest they re-record it if it doesn’t.

Remember that, as always in Liveminds, you can add in new online or mobile questions whenever you need to, easily mixing methodologies within your discussion guide, whilst keeping your view firmly focused on the subject.

6. Moderating

Check for outputs every day and probe participants while the moment is still fresh. Remember that watching participants videos takes longer than reading text though, so factor that into your timings. In Liveminds, responses captured on mobile are presented just the same as online responses but with a simple flag highlighting it’s source, ensuring you know the context in which it was created. So you won’t need to make any other changes to your moderation schedule.

7. Analysis & Reporting

Make sure that you also set aside time at the end of the project to review, analyse and edit all the great media content that you’ve selected as you’re moderating.
If you’d like the help of our own producer to turn this into a high-impact 5 minute video story, to accompany your slide presentation and really captivate your client, get in touch. We can work to a short, clear brief, outlining the story you want to tell and we will do the rest for you.

8. Seeing is believing

Of course, if you haven’t tried mobile qual yet, then there is no substitute for doing it for yourself, to establish what works best for you and your agency. So if you’d like to do a free 2 week trial, and show your colleagues how it really can get closer than ever before to consumer behaviour, get in touch.

Get monthly email updates

Sign up to receive regular emails containing reports, event invitations and inspiration from market research experts.

You can unsubscribe at any point, for more information on how to unsubscribe, our privacy practices, and how we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy, please review our Privacy Notice.

Contact us at or call us